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Jewish groups praise US decision to take in refugees, seek more info

Jewish groups are welcoming the Biden administration’s decision to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, with many seeking more information regarding how to help absorb those fleeing Russia’s invasion.

“As someone who came to the United States as a Ukrainian refugee myself, I can attest to how important and life-changing refugee support can be for both those fleeing a crisis and those welcoming them in,” says Elana Broitman, who heads up public affairs for the Jewish Federations of North America.

Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, says he applauds Biden’s move. “As with the Kosovars evacuated from Macedonia in 1999, we urge that they be brought in with all the protections and benefits of refugee status, and be assisted with voluntarily returning home to Ukraine when it is safe to do so,” he says.

Refugees with children wait for transport after fleeing the war from neighboring Ukraine at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland, on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

But the group and others also raise questions regarding who will be accepted, how they will be received, and what will happen to others seeking refuge.

“Will vulnerable people, like asylum seekers from African countries who have not received the same warm welcome as others fleeing Ukraine, be included? How will the refugees who have been waiting to be resettled in the US be affected?” asks HIAS global public affairs chief Melanie Nezer.

Liberal rabbinical group T’ruah praises the move, but also urges that other refugees not be forgotten.

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